VANCOUVER ISLAND -- Apr. 2, 2024 -- Here's a bit of Ian Roberts history, at least what I know about Roberts' contribution to Reconciliation in Canada. He has always been an excellent advocate of Indigenous rights being on par with the rest of human rights in Canada from coast to coast.

I learned this in a most peculiar way. I was business editor for a First Nation newspaper who took to writing about an emerging Indigenous business model on the west coast. 

It was fish farming done by a First Nation community found in Klemtu, B.C., halfway up the British Columbia coast. I had heard of Chief Percy Starr from conversations with the illustrious Bill Wilson, Jody Wilson-Raybould's father, as well as Stan Dixon, who published Kahtou News from the Sunshine Coast for many years.

I talked to Starr, who introduced me to Ian Roberts, of Mowi, when it was Marine Harvest. We did a few business stories. I got fired when anti-fish farm advocates assailed my editor with complaints. I began to investigate. 

Turned out, the provincial government had taken a 'hands off' approach to fish farming, in particular pertaining to First Nations Chiefs and leaders. What happened next was fascinating to report, and I was hired back by the newspaper.

(The Activists wanted nothing written about Indigenous business leaders building success, certainly wanted nothing shared about successful new business models that could be readily adapted by other Indigenous entrepreneurs. The whole thing seemed criminally stupid to ignore.)

The story was obvious, Indigenous Chiefs and Leaders wanted to talk business to fish farmers. That's an irresistible business story, and Roberts was instrumental in putting together people to talk about far reaching economic interests, communities building their own prosperity, and goals for meaningful investments by First Nation entrepreneurs along the coast of British Columbia, which is a laudable achievement in Reconciliation. Very much in the model of his mentor, the departed Percy Starr, member of the Order of Canada.

(Image shows Ian Roberts at a Mowi Scotland’s Salmon Wagon event – a program he helped create to benefit charities. Photo: Mowi)

Story written by Malcolm Mack McColl 


Ian Roberts Wrote This Requiem to Percy Starr. Order of Canada

Successful Pioneer in Canada's Reconciliation Efforts Retiring